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Derk Richardson
Acoustic Guitar, December 2010

Winner of numerous guitar competitions, Aleksandr Tsiboulski astonishes with the clarity of his sound, flawless technique, and passionate interpretations of Australian composers on this debut collection.

James Scott
Minor 7th, July 2010

This album is highly recommended for all listeners of contemporary classical music and will serve as an excellent starting point for those new to the genre.

Kenneth Keaton
American Record Guide, July 2010

Alexandr Tsibloulski…technique is superb, as is his ability to make this fresh music utterly convincing. This is an exciting recording.

To read the complete review, please visit American Record Guide online.

Graham Strahle
The Weekend Australian Magazine, May 2010

Add another name to Australia’s thriving classical guitar scene. Ukrainian-born Aleksandr Tsiboulski trained in Canberra under Timothy Kain before picking up a series of international awards, including first place in the 2006 Tokyo International Guitar Competition. After studying in Texas for a few years, he is back in Australia playing as a solo and chamber musician. Tsiboulski is the complete guitarist. His playing possesses a highly controlled, honed refinement, but he rises above the technical demands to reach a new level of concentrated, inner thought. It is an approach that brings particularly rich dividends to pieces of a reflective, intimate character rather than outright bravura or display. Luckily all the works in his debut disc belong to the first category. The standout is Koehne’s rhapsodic A Closed World of Fine Feelings and Grand Design, which Tsiboulski plays with exquisite, perfectly judged phrases and aching tenderness. He is excellent, too, with Edwards’s Guitar Dances and Blackwattle Caprices, giving unusual depth to these quirky, eloquent miniatures. Sculthorpe’s ruminative From Kakadu and Djilile acquire an almost spiritual power. Flavoursome performances of Dean’s Three Caprichos after Goya and Houghton’s Stele round out the collection. These works have been recorded before, but Tsiboulski is superlative with them and surely composers will be inspired by his subtle craft to write more for the instrument.

WRUV Reviews, April 2010

Australian composers’ modern, very beautiful guitar pieces…

Joshua Meggitt
Cyclic Defrost, March 2010

It’s refreshing to hear Australian music featuring a guitar playing something other than base Triple J-endorsed pub rock. It’s particularly exciting when the music is as insightful, and the performance as committed, as the compositions played by Ukrainian guitarist Aleksandr Tsiboulski featured here. Of course, classical guitar music has a strong association in Australia in guitarist John Williams, but Australian composers aren’t as closely linked with the instrument as are those of Spain or Latin America.

Also encouraging is how the music on this collection resists Iberian influence. Brett Dean’s ‘Three Caprichos’ after Goya, inspired by Francisco Goya’s ‘Caprichos’ series of satiric images of Spanish life, necessarily involve Spanish elements, but they’re sharpened and put to more modernist ends. This is most ably demonstrated in the final, menacing ‘No te escaparás (You will not escape)’, the original image depicting a dancer pursued by predatory birds. Phillip Houghton’s ‘Stele’, meaning a headstone or monument, is fittingly daunting, moving from a pointilistic scattering of lone notes (‘Bronze Apollo’) to refined acts of violence (‘Dervish’).

The transcription of Peter Sculthorpe’s ‘Kakadu for guitar’ is an obvious move but it’s impressively done, but it’s his ‘Djilile’ that is most convincing. The opening melody is based on chant heard in Arnhem land referring to a ‘whistling duck on a billabong’, Sculthorpe teasing this melody into myriad strange yet pleasing shapes, bobbing like the merry duck.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2010

An ideal introduction to Australian guitar music written in the second-half of the 20th century played by the winner of seven international guitar competitions, Aleksandr Tsiboulski. There is a ready similarity among Australian composers with the tonality that has flourished in the United States in the last fifty years, though it does have discernable national origins. All of the names on the disc are now well-known on the international scene and require little introduction, the father-figure, Peter Sculthorpe, forming the major contribution with three works—From Kakadu, Into the Dreaming and Djilile. Composed for John Williams, they all fall so fluently on the instrument, the Kakadu inspiration coming from the National Park in northern Australia, while Dreaming is so relaxing and atmospheric in its slow moving beauty. The disc opens with music by Ross Edwards, a one-time pupil of Peter Maxwell Davies who was to live in the UK for some years. It robbed him not one jot of his feel for his homeland, the ever changing moods of Guitar Dances a particular joy. I am equally delighted to make acquaintance with Graeme Koehne’s The Closed World of Fine Feelings and Grand Design, a piece that flowers from its original introspection. The ‘odd man out’ is Brett Dean whose Three Caprichos after Goya is a short piece of atonality and calls for playing of overt brilliance in the outer pictures. Ukrainian by birth, Tsiboulski was brought up and musically trained in Australia and the United States. A right hand that can create a steely outburst also having that ability to fashion a vast range of colours as we find in Phillip Houghton’s four-movement Stele. With a left hand largely free of unwanted slides, the playing throughout is in the guitar’s premiere league. Much recommended.

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